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nation's debt ceiling. that's i for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "john king, usa" starts right now. >> thanks, wolf, and good evening, everyone. a dramatic night of breaking news both at home and overseas. terror strikes a major european capital known for its tranquillity. first a powerful explosion outside norway's main government complex in oslo. >> the entire building, the hotel, the tower in downtown oslo, it just shook, the concussion absolutely blew me away, and it seemed as if my bed had been struck by lightning. >> an assassin dressed as a police officer opens fire at a summer camp for norway's labor party, sending the panicked teenagers scrambling for cover. >> they were hiding in caves and bushes and shelters and trying to make little noise as possible because they were scared for their lives because of the shooter. >> tonight, as norway and the world asks why, the death toll is growing.
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seven killed and 90 injured in the downtown explosion. at least ten shot to death at the summer camp shooting spree. but up first, stunning new drama in the debate over deficit spending in washington and the prospect of a historic government default just ten days from now. republican house speaker john boehner tonight calling off negotiations with president obama saying the democratic white house is too gung-ho about raising taxes and too timid when it comes to squeezing money from social security and medicare as speaker boehner sent his colleagues a stunning letter explaining his decision, an angry president came to the white house briefing room with a passionial rebuttal. >> this was an extraordinarily fair deal. if it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue. but in the interests of being serious about deficit reduction, i was willing to take a lot of heat from my party, and i spoke to democratic leaders yesterday,
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and although they didn't sign off on a plan, they were willing to engage in serious negotiations. >> so, now what is the big question? speaker boehner will rebut the president just about 14 minutes from now. we'll take you there live. in his letter to his colleagues, he said his preference now is to work on a plan in the congress. but the president expects the house and the senate leaders of both parties at the white house saturday morning. is this just theater before a deal or a recipe for gridlock and maybe an economy shattering government default? chief white house correspondent jessi jessica yellin, and kate bolduan, and gloria borger here, jess, the speaker doesn't want to negotiate anymore, and this is not a president known for his anger or his temper, but he seemed pretty piqued. >> reporter: this was the president hitting by far his most frustrated, fed-up note during the debt negotiations by far, john. we heard him say that the republicans just don't know how to say yes. that he offered the most generous package he could.
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in short he said that he offered them a deal that democrats just didn't like. he was basically saying he was enraging his own party, how could the republicans not accept this deal? he has called all parties to the white house at 11:00 tomorrow morning to just get something done. and it was an odd day here at the white house from what i can tell. i am told that by democrats that the president put in a call to speaker boehner this morning and was told that the speaker was not available to speak to him. sometime this evening reporters were told by speaker boehner's office that a deal was off, and after reporters were briefed, that's when the speaker called the president to tell him the deal was off. so, no doubt that has fed into probably the president's frustration this evening, and we will hear further details about just what broke this deal down. but i'm told it is essentially over tax revenue and just how both sides would be forced to the table to deal with taxes in the future, john. >> and so, kate, a big test for
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the speaker just moments away. the president has the bully pulpit, the president at the moment at least seems to have public opinion, the polls on his side, the american people nationally. a lot of the house members run in their districts, they don't care about the national polls. but nationally the poll says people want some taxes and spending cuts. what will we hear from the speaker when he comes back? i assume he disagrees quite vehemently with the president's portrayal of events. >> reporter: i was just going to stay that, john, we got a different version of events when we were hearing from house republican sources of really what happened. the way it was laid out, we got into a lot of detail, but in a very broad sense what we heard is that speaker boehner, that they were working towards a framework, a very significant elements having to do with taking on all of the tough stuff, we're talking about changes to 5)fñentitlements tha they had generally agreed to on the issue of tax reform, lowering rates and taking that on. what we're told from the congressional sources is where it all began to unravel, in
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their opinion, is when the gang of six here in the senate, this bipartisan group of senators, came out with their long-term debt reduction plan. the white house in their words pulled back and began pushing for a higher revenue number than what they had agreed to, and at that point the general perspective i guess from speaker boehner's office is that from house speaker john boehner was that things were not going to go anywhere. and one line in this letter that he sent to all of his house members this evening really sums it up, john, he said in the end we couldn't connect, not because of different personalities, but because of different visions for our country. and speaker boehner now believes that the vision for how to move forward and to beat this deadline, this august 2nd deadline, if they can, is going to come from here on capitol hill between his -- republican and democratic leaders in the house and the senate, but when we -- when they were pressed on the issue of what is the path forward, the clock is ticking, they said, there is no path forward quite yet. they're not making any judgments
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or assumptions. they understand they've got to get working because they believe they need to unveil something to their members monday. >> kate bolduan, stand by on capitol hill, we'll wait for speaker boehner. he's ten minutes away. gloria borger, i'll play contrarian here. i'll say that both the president and the speaker needed this moment, the speaker had suspicions of the tea party members that he was cutting the deal with taxes, he needed to prove he'd push the president away. he woke up this morning, and the loudest cries were from the liberals, how dare are you, we won't work for you, we might not even vote for you, mr. president, this day ends differently than it began. and i think in the end it might serve both the speaker and the president's purposes just fine. >> well, it may provide each of them with a little bit of political cover, if that's what you're saying, because the president can say, okay, i was willing to take the heat. the speaker says, look, i represent you, my house republicans. i represented your caucus. and now in the end, maybe they're going to have to take the backup plan, which house
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republicans did not like because it did not contain enough deficit reduction. so, i think you're probably right. but i think we're probably not going to get to the grand bargain. i think we're going to have the band-aid through 2013. >> i want to play something. i had an interview and i was filling in for anderson cooper, and this congressman is proud of what they passed in the house. the tea partiers would like to control washington, it's hard for them to understand the democrats control the senate and the republicans control the house. listen to him on whether you should compromise. >> this is no time to compromise, we've had years and years of compromise and it's led to $14 trillion in debt, if we're going to get out of the mess, we've got to hold true to what we know are the true slugs. >> one of the issues it suggests to you first, the speaker boehner bite be better off with negotiating with leader
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mcconnell and leader reid and pelosi, because if you ask the tea party members, who is nemesis number one, it's president obama, the democrat in the white house. >> that's right, because he doesn't need to be seen sitting down with the president, that's part of the reason he's been -- his meetings here have been kept so secret. but it still remains he has to make the fundamental choice, will he put enough in a deal that will win him democratic votes in the house of representatives and that remains to be seen. >> kate, the speaker has a tough calculation, if you just give the president the authority as some conservatives say, fine, let's push it down the road until the election and we'll fight about the taxes and congress can do it, but the new tea party members and the new republican majority doesn't get the cuts they wanted. >> reporter: that's been a big part throughout the discussions and these negotiations, this debate we've been watching, the big question has always been, john, and you've noted it, what about the house? what can the house accept? and that is a calculation that speaker boehner is going to have
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to take into account. i assure you that he has been taking it into account. so, on the question of the path forward, this reid/mcconnell fallback plan is not appetizing for the house republicans, at first read, that does not have the support to pass. there's now the growing conversation about some kind of a short-term smaller kind of extension, some $1 trillion to just kind of move this thing forward, but the president just this evening said that he doesn't want to accept that. >> it is a mess. kate bolduan, jessica yellin, gloria borger, will stay with us. the mcconnell/reid principal if you haven't followed it closely would let the president raise the debt ceiling on his own, it would give him the power to raise it three times between now and the presidential election, but the president would get the power so republicans would never have to vote to increase the debt ceiling. that is one proposal. it's pretty complicated and it's your economy that could be at stake. speaker boehner just moments
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well, a trout lure, a set of dentures, broadway albums. you know -- stuff. yeah. about that. that big wheel behind us... yeah? he's got a flat-screen, swivel chairs, and a fridge. oh. hey, man! can we come over tonight? it's surprising just how affordable an rv vacation can be. visit and get a free video. or see an rv dealer. go affordably. go rving. [oinking] [hissing] [ding] announcer: cook foods to the right temperature using a food thermometer. 3,000 americans will die from food poisoning this year. check your steps at dramatic night of breaking news in washington. moments away the republican house speaker john boehner will rebut the president of the united states over the breakdown in talks to get a deficit reduction agreement and raise the government's debt ceiling.
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this plays out we often say elections have consequences and this debt and spending debate is proof positive. if you're surprised or mad at the house republicans for advancing their plan, well, frankly, you shouldn't be. we had an election in november, and the republicans won big time and they won with promises like this -- >> spending is out of control. foreign debt threatens our economic and national security. >> we're at the government spending that threatens your future with government debt. >> stop wasteful spending by allowing a debt limit. >> as you watch the showdown, this is what they promised to do and aren't we supposed to be impressed when the politicians keep their promises? let's look at it this way. i want to bring up this map here. this is the map, all the red, the house districts won by republicans in 2010 when they took back the majority. watch all that red. the other night the house g voteded on cut, cap and balance and it gives the president his debt ceiling increase and cuts
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spending and caps spending. that's how the election went and that's the vote on cut, cap and balance. remember the red? you vote for this. you get this. that's how it turns out. so, what's happening in washington is exactly what you voted for last november. except here's the problem. those republicans and here's a big question for the republicans going forward, the problem's this -- some of you have changed your mind. in january, nearly half of americans say congressional republicans would move the country in the right direction. meaning they're doing the right thing. now, just 37% say that. plus, controlling the house does not translate into controlling washington. and the question now is whether the anti-spending freshmen class is ready to accept the painful but obvious civics lesson. we're about to find out. as we wait for the speaker to come out, it's less than two minutes until we hear from the speaker. that's the challenge in that he has a relatively short leash, by
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career and dna, a dealmaker but he's never been in a position like this. >> he's been in congress for so long and he's clearly in congress to get things done, and when he originally was talking to the president, there was a deal that they were talking about that was $3 of spending cuts for every dollar of tax increase. that's a lot of spending cuts. if you've been around congress for as long as john boehner's been around congress but he's got a flock to lead. he didn't get them here probably and now he's got to lead them and that's his difficulty. >> it's hard. a number of them are new to politics period, and i'm not saying that they don't understand how it works, but they came here full of zest and the new majority, they wanted to repeal the obama health care plan, and they couldn't do it. and they want to get their way on spending and deficit reduction and simply can't. to their credit, i'm not saying they're right, i'm going to hold firm, so be it. this is why the voters sent me
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here. >> they've taken a pledge not to raise taxes. they don't see themselves as career politicians. good for them. this is what they believe in. however, however, if you believe economists also the country's economic future at stake, and so the question is, when can you get to a compromise or is that just a dirty word around here. >> and kate bolduan, forgive me if i have to interrupt you if the speaker walks in. john boehner became speaker because of the new members, and his history is cutting deals. >> his history is that of a deal ba maker and that's an issue, or a problem, or maybe the opposing forces that he has to face in his job. he does have a strong number of people in his conference, in his caucus, if you will -- i guess we should -- john, i think we need to talk later. >> okay. speaker of the united states. >> i want to be entirely clear. no one wants to default on the full faith and credit of the united states government. and i'm convinced that we will
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not. starting tonight i'll be working with colleagues here in the capitol, both the house and the senate, to find a responsible path forward. and i have confidence in the bipartisan leaders of the congress that can come together and to ensure that we have an agreement that will allow the country to avoid default and meets the principles that we've outlined. spending cuts that must be greater than the increase in the debt limit and no tax increases. the discussions we've had with the white house have broken down for two reasons. first, they insisted on raising taxes. we had an agreement on a revenue number. a revenue number that we thought we could reach based on a flatter tax code with lower rates and a broader base. that would produce more economic
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growth, more employees and more taxpayers. and a tax system that was more efficient in collecting the taxes that were due the federal government. and let me just say that the white house moved the goalpost. there was an agreement, some additional revenues, until yesterday when the president demanded $400 billion more which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the american people. and i can tell you that leader cantor and i were very disappointed in this call for higher revenue. but secondly, they refused to get serious about cutting spending and making the tough choices that are facing our country on entitlement reform. that's the bottom line. i take the same oath of office as the president of the united states. i've got the same
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responsibilities as the president of the united states. and i think that's for both of us to do what's in the best interests of our country. and i can tell you that it's not in the best interests of our country to raise taxes during this difficult economy, and it's not in the best interests of our country to ignore the serious spending challenges that we face. i want to say, this is a serious debate, and it's a debate about jobs, it's a debate about our economy, and frankly it's also a big debate about the future of our country. you know, until recently the president was demanding that the congress increase the debt limit with no strings attached. as a matter of fact, the treasury secretary sent me a letter two days after we were sworn in in january demanding that we give him a clean increase in the debt limit. i immediately responded and told the treasury secretary that the american people would not tolerate a clean increase in the
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debt ceiling unless there were serious spending cuts attached and real reforms to the way we spend the american people's money. i went to new york city in may, gave a speech to the new york economic library, where i outlined the challenges we were facing and i made it clear that we would not increase the debt limit without cuts that exceeded that increase in the debt limit, that there would be no new taxes, and that there would be serious spending reforms put in place. listen, it's time to get serious, and i'm confident that the bipartisan leaders here in the congress can act. the white house won't get serious, we will. >> mr. boehner -- >> your own aides say the package of cuts on the table were worth about $3 trillion. how can you say that the white house wasn't serious about spending cuts? that's more than you were asking for initially. >> listen, we've put plan after plan on the table.
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the house passed its budget. we had our plan out there. the house passed the cut, cap and balance. never once did the president ever come to the table with a plan. it was always -- we were always pushing. and, you know, when you get into these negotiations, sometimes it's good to back away from the tree and take a look at the forest. and yesterday afternoon after the president demanded more revenue in this package, i came back against -- away from the tree to take a look at the forest. i spent most of the morning and afternoon consulting with my fellow leaders, members of our conference, and others about the way to go forward. and i just want to tell you what i said several weeks ago, dealing with the white house is like dealing with a bowl of jell-o. i'm not going to get into the partisan sniping that we heard
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earlier. but i can tell you that there was every effort in the world to avoid the real cuts that we need to make in order to preserve the fiscal integrity of our country and frankly the real cuts that needed to be made -- that need to be made to preserve our entitlement programs, which are important programs, to tens of millions of americans. >> i understand you are frustrated with the white house, but how can you say that you can forge an agreement just exclusively with people in the house and the senate without having some buy-in from the white house? >> i think that we can work together here on capitol hill to forge an agreement, and i'm hopeful that the president will work with us on that agreement. >> speaker boehner, president obama said that you did not return his phone call. did it permanently damage your relationship with the president? >> listen, the president and i have gotten to know each other pretty well over the course of the last six months, and i can
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tell you in all of our conversations, they were respectful, they were firm, there were frustrations on both sides. but i don't -- i don't believe that our relationship is permanently damaged. >> the president has invited you to the white house tomorrow morning. are you going to go? >> yes, ma'am. >> mr. speaker, do you trust the president? [ inaudible ] you can't come to any sort of agreements, you say he backed away from an offer he made. do you trust him as a negotiator? >> i do trust him as a negotiator, but you have to understand that every step of this process was difficult. you know, there's a reason why we have two political parties. there's a reason why the president and i come from different political parties. the president believes in the size of government, in more taxes from the american people. listen, every weekend when i'm not stuck here in washington, d.c., i'm out somewhere in america and i'm out in my
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district and i run into people, small business people, who don't understand why they pay the taxes they pay. don't under all the rstand all regulations coming out of washington that impede their ability to grow their business and hire more people. and when you boil this all down, yes, we've got to save the fiscal future for our country, but we've got to get our economy going again, and we've got to get people confidence in our economy, and the way to do that is to have real spending cuts now. >> but the differences in revenue that it sounds like you and the white house -- amount to $4 billion, about $40 billion a year considering the context of the federal budget is not that much. with the stakes so high, how could the talks have broken down over the relatively small number? >> the extra $400 billion would have had to come from increasing
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taxes on the very people that we expect to invest in our economy and create jobs. >> the president suggested you walked away from this that you couldn't control your own caucus. that there are people -- there are republicans -- we have heard republicans who say that default isn't something they aren't worried about, they don't want the debt ceiling raised under any circumstances. did you feel pressure to walk away from something that you might have otherwise -- >> absolutely not. i gave the president's proposal serious consideration. but let's understand something, there was an agreement -- there was an agreement with the white house at $800 billion in revenue. it's the president who walked away from his agreement and demanded more money at the last minute. that is -- and the only way to get that extra revenue was to raise taxes. >> at this point what is the likelihood of the short-term debt increase and is that something you and the president have ever discussed? >> the president and i have never discussed a short-term
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increase in the debt limit. i'm not really interested in a short-term increase in the debt limit. i believe that we have two challenges. that we have to increase the debt limit, and we have to deal with our deficit and our debt, and the sooner we do that, the better off our country will be. >> three possible options, the [ inaudible ] and the mcconnell/reid, the big deal just collapsed. what else is there to do? >> i'll be working with the bipartisan congressional leaders on a path forward. i'm confident, i'm confident that congress can act next week and not jeopardize the full faith and credit of the united states government. >> the speaker of the house, john boehner, responding to the president of the united states. a very dramatic night here in washington and a very important night not only the negotiations that reduce the deficit spending and give the government more
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power to borrow money august 2nd, but a very important night for you. some economists warn if we get default, interest rates would go up and unemployment would go up. but america's never been here before and some republicans are skeptical about this. and this is important to note from the news conference, he blames the president. he said the president walked away from the deal he had previously negotiated because he was under pressure, again this is the speaker's view, but the democrats wanted more tax increases. but important to note speaker boehner remains committed to getting a deal prior to august 2nd to raise the government's debt ceiling. the question is would such an agreement include cuts. will they be able to work it out. or will they have a breakdown. let's go to kate bolduan. the president spoke to the american people and reporters to give his take. the speaker coming back. the question now is, what will he work on? the last question i thought was a pretty good one. the grand bargain seems dead. a smaller deal -- the house --
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the house-passed plan today died in the senate. what's option three? >> reporter: option three is an excellent question, i'll tell you. i will tell you, we are receiving some pushback on the timing of the calls, when the president was informed and when reporters were informed. but besides that, john, the big question now that we should all focus on is exactly that, where are they going now. and we're told from sources it's unclear. they know now that they need to work quickly and be serious and they need to find a compromise. republican sources that we spoke to said that they there's still an understanding that they need to unveil some principal, some compromise monday in order to allow time to get it through the house and get it through some of -- possibly some of the procedural obstacles that they could come upon in the senate. so, they know they need to work hard, they know they need to work fast. where they're going to be able to thread the needle to find the compromise remains a question this evening. >> our chief white house
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correspondent, jessica yellin is with us, jess, i want to listen to what the president said, at the end of his statement. he said i had a great deal on the table. it will be up to the speaker to explain, again, the president's characterization, the speaker ended the talks. let's listen to the president. >> it is hard to understand why speaker boehner would walk away from this kind of deal, and frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, there are a lot of republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn't get done. in fact, there are a lot of republican voters out there who are puzzled as to why it couldn't get done. because the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of the american people believe we should have a balanced approach. >> and the question now, jess, is where do we go. it is clear that speaker boehner and it is clear that even before speaker ban eer boehner and mit mcconnell, they wanted to make the president the last guy, they wanted to negotiate it in congress and he said, oh, no, everyone's coming back to the white house tomorrow. the president, does he have to
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be in the middle or if they negotiate a plan on the sidelines that gets him what he wants, is that okay? >> reporter: as long as it's not a short-term deal, john, the president and the white house have made it clear they'll accept something that raises the debt ceiling through the 2012 election. you heard him say that if this doesn't get done, it's a self-inflicted wound. and people -- he's astonished that congress would take it to the brink this way. essentially democrats, you know, ye ye yelping that he was dragging democrats screaming and shouting to get something down. the rest of washington and the president sounded amazed that speaker boehner wasn't going to accept it. and democrats have been pushing back hard on this characterization we've heard that speaker boehner has changed its position, insisting that, you know, that that's just flatly wrong. >> it's a fascinating question and it makes an important point.
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politically the president seems to be in the perfect place. he said a lot of my fellow democrats are mad at me and the republicans are walking out of talks. it seems like he's trying to be the grownup in the middle. >> he is. >> however, there's 9.2% unemployment in the country right now and if this causes rattling in the economy in an already fragile economy, the voters won't remember when they pick a new president but they'll make their decision in part based on the corpse of the econo course of the economy. >> but what's interesting to me, though, from john boehner's press conference he actually admitted publicly that he had $800 billion in revenue on the table! wow! okay. that's interesting to know. because would he have been able to sell that to his own caucus. and your suspicion and mine, of course, is that the question of that extra $400 billion was really about as he alluded to
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the tax cuts on the wealthy expiring, and it's clear that the democrats wanted some kind of trigger to know that that would occur -- >> he was willing to accept them if it meant rates for everybody went down so he would say there's no tax rates. clearly his argument is there's something in there about rates. >> exactly. but interesting to know that john boehner had gotten as far as $800 billion even given the concerns of his house republicans. >> we'll find out if there will be anything of the like in whatever they try to negotiate. we know one thing tonight for all of the questions we're getting a fascinating lesson in the complications of divided government. appreciate your help here. next we turn to the day's other major breaking story. the latest on the horrific attacks in norway and an eyewitness account from an american pilot. >> immediately after the blast, the kind of debris, it looked just like when the towers were falling on september 11th. my doctor told me calcium is best absorbed in small continuous amounts. only one calcium supplement does that in one daily dose.
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now tonight's breaking international story, terror strikes a major european capital known for its tranquillity. a power explosion in oslo killing at least seven. injuring 90. then a man dressed as a police officer opens fire at a summer camp for norway's labor party, sending the panicked teenagers scrambling for cover and killing at least ten people. tonight norwegian police say the two attack are definitely linked. they've arrested a suspect on
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the island describing him as a 32-year-old norwegian man. a spokesman tells cnn a man on the island appears to match the description of a man appearing before the government building in oslo shortly before the bomb exploded. joining us from oslo is linda, is there any indications from your reporting about additional suspects or any affiliations? >> well, the police are not saying if they suspect if more people are involved, but they think it was the same person who left the bomb and afterwards killed teenagers at utoeya. the police at least now have the suspect in their custody, and he is talking, so i suppose we'll know more about it and they're also searching his flat which is located in the -- west of oslo which is the more affluent part of the capital. >> and describe the sense in the
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capital tonight and around norway, a place known for its tranquillity, a place known for its openness, and a place that is perhaps suffering a bit from the belief that this could never happen here, therefore, you don't have some of the security measures we see elsewhere. >> that is true. we don't have the kind of security measures you see in other countries, because, you know, you used to think that this was the safest country in the world. so, our reactions at first was disbelief, you know, how could this happen here. and then it was just fear and horror, and just as we were trying to cope with the most tragic event since the german occupation and the bombing of the governmental quarters, we got the news that teenagers were being slaughtered at utoeya where this political youth rally was being held. >> and has the government said
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anything about that, the politics, the main bomb goes outside an office building where the prime minister's office is, then the gunman goes on this horrif horrific shooting spree at a youth summer camp, but a labor party summer camp, has anybody said anything about motivation and the connection to the politics or is it just viewed as against the government or specifically something to do with the labor party? >> well, earlier today there were speculations that islamic radical groups could be behind this terror attack, you know, this terrorist attack, now, however, it seems something more domestic. whoever is behind it seems to be politically motivated. the prime minister has said he doesn't want to speculate on the motives yet, but we do have one professor of the police academy who suggests that this could be the work of extremists. he said that what happened in
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oslo today reminds him of the oklahoma bombing, but as i said, nothing's confirmed yet, and it's too early to tell. but the police do have the suspect, which we think did the shootings and he's talking, so i suppose we'll know more about it soon. >> we appreciate your help and your reporting tonight. thank you so much, it's a tragedy for your country. and paul krushank and fran townsend who serves on the advisory committee for the cia and the homeland security department. do we think this domestic terrorism or do we think there is some islamic jihadist connection? >> well, it's unclear, john, at this point where it's domestic terrorism unrelated to islamic terrorism or something related to islamist terrorism and al qaeda. it's only a very devastating,
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sophisticated attack which has been pulled off here. some of the scenes seem a bit like the '98 embassy bombings in africa aghent the u.s. embassies but mcveigh's attack in oklahoma in naj 1995, so not clear who i responsible at this point. there have been threats against norway from al qaeda, mainly by ayman al zawahiri, but not clear who it is, it could not be related to al qaeda at all. >> the reflex, fran townsend, could it be al qaeda, there are a number of reasons, also troops in afghanistan, have worked with the united states on some things overseas. when we see the bomb, we don't know much about it yet, but maybe you know more from your sources. when you see the devastation, it's not a small bomb, because damage is high up, and the police say undetonated explosives were found on the island where the horrific shooting happens with the
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children at the labor camp. when you see that, the sophistication, the power of the bomb, what does it tell you? >> it suggests this more than the work of a single individual. remember we saw the times square bomber. one guy trying to accumulate the materials and detonate it at the time of his choosing, it's hard to do. it suggests there's more than a single individual. the other thing is there was a norwegian journalist media report suggesting that the guy, the individual they have in custody, was a farmer who might have had access to the sort of fertilizer that was anothused te the oklahoma city bomb. as we learn more facts, we'll understand better the motivation, but people now i think in the terrorism community are leaning towards -- more towards this being a right-wing extremist and a domestic attack. >> and, paul, in conversations, i spoke to a member of the labor party today, i've had a couple conversations with the norwegian journalists and they all have this sense of why us, couldn't happen here, shouldn't happen here, would never happen here. in terms of the openness of this
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society, whether it's domestic terrorism or outside terrorism, is oslo, is norway, an easy target? >> well, i think this really demonstrate that ten years after 9/11 how vulnerable we are in the west to this sort of terrorist attack and a terrorist attack of some shame or form it certainly is just a few people, maybe just one individual, but probably more individuals, can create such carnage. so, i think this is a real reminder and wake-up call that the threat of terrorism, wherever it comes from, is still there as we approach the ten years after 9/11, john. >> fran, help us understand how the investigation will unfold, how they try to answer these questions that you and paul are raising. is it a domestic terrorism, inspired by politics, does he have some outside connections or even if it's a domestic terrorism inspired by politics, did he get outside help in coming about this. you look at the building, the forerensices, we're looking at them, shattered windows and a car overturned, not quite sure about the source of the bombing.
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they have explosives taken off the island undetonated, how does the foreren six go forward? >> they will confirm the link between the two. you will look at his telephone and cell phones and bank accounts. you'll look at his internet trail behind him and his communications, and you'll look to see -- use those to identify those he might have been affiliated with or may have helped him, and you want to do that quickly. they'll try to do that within the first 24 to 36 hours because you want to pick up those people whoever they are and make sure there aren't follow-on attacks planned. >> paul, when you make the point, an excellent point, ten years later, especially in open western societies and this is our choice, you can't stop everything, but we make choices no to stop more things just by leaving things open. will there be you think in the small european cities now, will there be other discussions about should we do more? >> there will be those
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discussions, those discussions are already happening, you know, tighter security in places like norway, a country whose population didn't really expect this sort of attack. but security sources in norway have been aware for some time, they don't live in a bubble, there is an al qaeda threat out there, an islamist threat out there and all on other threats as well, there's the modern life that there's the vulnerability to terrorism that a few individuals can create carnage. we saw it in 9/11, we saw it in the last big terrorist attack in europe on july 7th, 2005, in london and we're seeing that here again in norway today, john. >> fran, i don't want to cause any unnecessary alarm, and perhaps this is a domestic incident in norway, but when something like this happens overseas and there's a question, what happens in the united states? >> the first thing the law enforcement and intelligent agencies do is look inside their own files to see if there's anything they have in light of the attacks makes more sense and
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might help norwegian officials understand what happened there. and see if they have access to individuals, particularly the fbi, who might be of assistance to the norweg snorwegians. and up next we'll have a labor party member who was texting, texting, with children hiding in caves. every day, all around the world, energy is being produced to power our lives. while energy developement comes with some risk, north america's natural gas producers are committed to safely and responsibly providing decades of cleaner burning energy for our country,
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responsibility. what's your policy? tonight a 32-year-old norwegian man is in custody after a pair of terror attacks in norway. police the attacks are definitely linked. seven people were killed by an explosion in downtown oslo, at least ten shot to death on an island summer camp. the suspect is? custody, police say he matches the description of a person also seen in oslo just before the explosion. the prime minister addressed the nation a short time ago. >> translator: this attack was bloody and cowardly. we do not know who attacked us. a lot remains uncertain, but we know many are injured and dead. the next few days will demand a lot from us. we're ready to meet this challenge. i have a message to those who attacked us, a message from the whole of norway, you won't destroy us. you won't destroy our democracy. we're a small, but proud,
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nation. no one can bomb us to silence. no one can scare us from being norway. this evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. that's what we do best when we're attacked. >> let's get an eyewitness account now from ian dutton. he's in oslo, he's a u.s. airline pilot and isian dutton. he is staying in oslo now. let's just start with the moment you heard the explosion. you were sleeping? >> yeah. you know, we flew overnight from new york city to oslo. the first thing you want to do after flying all night is have a little bit of a rest. so i slept for a couple hours. i was just waking up. it was just a minute or two before i planned on getting out of bed. and the entire building, the hotel you toer in downtown oslo, it just shook to concussion and absolutely blew me away. and it seemed as if my bed had been struck by lightning. it was that immediate and that impactful. and so with that concussion, obviously, it was clear that
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something was going on. so i rushed to the window and looked outside. there was a giant cloud of smoke and debris just emerging from the plaza. >> about how far away? is it literally a quarter mile? if you're feeling a concussion blow, a movement blow, am i right about that shaking in your room that far away from the bomb site? >> oh, yeah. i'm fairly close with a pretty direct line of fire. i have a friend that lives 10 or 15 kilometers out of town. and she was jarred by the explosion. so it was -- it was felt all over the oslo area. so -- and then initially as i said, that debris cloud started to spread. and people reacted not so much with panic or shock as disbelief. people just seem like they were looking around as if this couldn't be happening. it can't be something as serious with my mind as telling me it
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is. and so just over the couple of minutes you started to hear the emergency response and see streams of emergency vehicles coming in. and i have to say, oslo being such a traditionally safe place, i'm actually surprised that they were able to put together that size response so quickly living in new york you're accustomed to seeing police officers and fire trucks on a very regular basis. but here, you don't ever see them. you can walk around all day in downtown oslo and not see a police officer. but streams of ambulances came in. the streets around were very quickly transformed into just constant flows of these yellow ambulances. and they were even backed up in some cases by city buses that they were using to transport people that were affected to the hospital. so -- and now in the aftermath, it's done 180-degree change. normally oslo is a vibrant place on a summer friday night. the streets are very quiet. and actually reminds me very
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much of my own home living in soho in lower manhattan after september 11th where the streets are quiet and people are walking around fairly aimlessly. there are not that many people on the streets and there is no traffic. it feels like there is that same process of shock and looking for support. things are very much under control now. there's no more smoke rising. there's no -- only rare sirens. although just in the last few minutes a couple helicopters started circling the area. >> i assume pretty significant police presence still? >> it's -- they've got a cordoned region area there. but it's not -- it's nothing like i would expect to see even for a parade in new york. at least it's not that level of visibility. a lot of the intersections just have tape and maybe a single officer or a car. but it's -- it really -- norway just has this strange sense about it that it's a very
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civilized place and you don't even need that sort of response. you put up tape and people honor it. and i think maybe that's part of it. >> let's go back. let's go back to the moments where you first looked out the window and you see debris cloud. has the cloud cleared a bit? what did you snee terms of the level of destruction? were there flames? were there just charred vehicles? things overturned? >> i can't actually see the exact impact point. there is a small building between me and the center of the plaza there. i can see very clearly though the buildings that we've been talking about that are bordering it that are heavily damaged. the oil ministry building closer to me has a heliport on top and there is heavy structural damage all the way through the building. i'm looking at the backside from the blast. i can see warping on the top floor of the building and the windows are all blown out from the top of it. so it must have been extremely powerful to have warped the
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backside of the building from the blast and have that kind of infect. >> but you can't see there is still questions tonight as to what type of bomb this was? some people say car bomb. some say they're not so sure. you don't have a bird's-eye view of that? >> i don't. like i say, i can't see the ground level in the plaza. immediately after the blast the kind of debris, it looked like when the towers were falling on september 11th. it was kind of like dust cloud, probably something you wouldn't want to breathe. containing a lot of crushed concrete or other kind of airborne particles that, like i say, makes breathing difficult and probably has long-term impact if it lodges in your lungs. so that same kind of thing. people were emerge being out of that, obviously not clear what was going on. but just trying to get away from the event. >> it is a very peaceful place, a place that is proud of its tranquility. forgive the question, if you're
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a terrorist looking to make a statement, why here? >> i think it really does send a real -- a real message, i guess, at innocence. in some ways in the u.s. with our september 11th, we were able to say a lot of people were able to say that's new york. new york gets that kind of attention. it would never happen here in my town, in my -- and i think norway felt like that in the world. it's a peaceful, fairly crime free place with very high standards of living. and this just wouldn't happen here. something happens on the news and elsewhere in the world. so i think that it's even more shocking because it's a blow to innocence. >> we appreciate your insights and all your help. thanks so much. >> okay. have a good night. >> mr. dutton is speaking to us from oslo, describing the scene here in the center of the city where the bomb went off. this is where that bomb went off. the first explosion in this attack. now the summer camp, 20 miles away over here on the island, that is where the gunman came on to an island full of teenagers.
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joining us on the telephone now is a labor party member in norway. i understand you've been in touch with this camp where this horrific shooting took place. tell us what you know. >> when the situation was going on, i was in contact to social media. they were hiding in caves and bushes and shelters. and trying to make as little noise as possible. they were scared for their lives because of the shooter. i was actually staying with the people that were trying to hide. >> hiding in caves. hiding anywhere they could. >> yeah. it's a small island. there are some caves there. there are a good parts of the island. there are some people took
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shelter. and they were climbing trees. they were finding anyplace possible they could avoid this gunman. >> and some of them so fright ened they were rushing into the water thinking that might be safer? >> that is correct. that is correct. and to be on the steps quite desperate. the watter in norway is pretty cold now. and it's quite a bit extreme. it is almost three quarters of a mile. and that's what distances they have to be quite desperate to jump in the water and swim from the island to escape that person that they were swimming for their lives, actually. >> from your texting and what you've been able to piece together, were many of those at the camp, were they in a group setting? were they in different places? this gunman came in and started shooting indiscriminantly? >> i'm not sure about that.
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>> the gunman was a few minutes after that and on the island. so i think that he did not start in the actual camp. he was starting nearby and the nearby boat. >> and from everything you've been able to piece together, it was a gunman? he was acting alone? >> yes, everything points that he was working alone. but, police in norway is connecting the situation on the island with the situation in oslo. they say if a bomb is what killed them, then it could be that he was working on the island and other people working with him in oslo. >> do you know how many people were at the camp at the snim. >> about 600 people were on the

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CNN July 22, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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